Saturday, December 10, 2011

War On The Home Front

'Tis the season for Christmas concerts -- except in certain public schools in the Ottawa area where the political correctness brigade has put an end to another Canadian cultural tradition enjoyed by generations of kids and their parents. Concerts can be held in February but not too close to Valentine's Day -- St. Valentine, after all, was a Christian, and the political correctness brigade has declared open season on anything which remotely smacks of Christianity.
In Kingston, school bus drivers have been warned off displaying any Christmas decoration on their vehicles -- on penalty of death -- or the Canadian equivalent -- loss of job. They better not be wearing any elf hats, reindeer antlers or Rudolph noses either !
Apparently disciples of political correctness go into a slavering frenzy of anger when they spot a Christmas wreath wired to the grille of a school bus. The sight of a kid dressed in dad's bathrobe, gotten up as one of the Three Wise Men, causes disciples of political correctness to grit their teeth while their eyes bulge and the veins in their heads pop out. It's a wonder more of them do not succumb to apoplexy which would, in Citizen Ellie's opinion, be a good thing.
The war on Christmas seems to have heated up this year. Sadly, not enough of us are standing up to the political correctness bullies.
That's right. The disciples of political correctness are the worst bullies in our society today. Schoolyard bullies (about whom Premier Dad is having fits) are pikers compared to the adults who get themselves elected to school boards and other official bodies in order to shove their ideas down our collective throats -- whether we agree or not. And those of us who disagree do so at our peril because there are Human Rights Commissions out there just waiting to slap us into submission as journalists Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn learned -- but they fought back. Statues should be erected to honor these guys. They are heroes for standing up to the bullies !!
It's not just Christmas that's under attack. The political correctness brigade moved against Halloween this year. Kids can wear orange and black clothing, but no costumes please. Remembrance Day is in their sights -- the cowards on both the Ottawa Catholic and Public School Boards gave in this year, using the guns are forbidden in schools policy as an excuse to cancel a program which brought veterans and students together. Citizen Ellie has no problem with the policy -- of course guns should be forbidden in schools. There are a lot of things which should be forbidden in schools but where's the common sense when it comes to firearms which have been disabled, LAVs and tanks which are out of service and old jeeps ? Another piece of Cnadian history and culture flushed down the drain.
Wonder if Sir Robert Borden ever thought this would happen in his Canada as he wrapped his hands around Lord Kitchener's throat and shook the former supreme commander when the two met up after the armistice --The Canadian PM was incensed at supreme commander Kitchener's waste of colonial manpower in the trenches of France. Bet they don't teach that in schools today. Not important. Social engineering is where it's at !
Yes, there are a lot of things which should be forbidden in schools. Premier Dad's new sex-ed curriculum would be a good place to start. Think about it. Why on earth should Grade Two kids be taught how to put condoms on sex toys ? What purpose does this serve ? Why is time which should be spent teaching kids how to read, write, spell and count wasted on this nonsense ? Because the political correctness brigade is promoting it.
Citizen Ellie feels like waging war against school taxes. Obviously there are far too many school board members and school administrators who have too little to do. So to justify their fat salares, pension and benefit plans they find ways to make it look like they're working full tilt !
Social engineering has replaced teaching. That's why those of us who wrote the provincial exams and graduated from Grade 13 back in the 1950s received an education the equivalent of what a BA gets today after four years at university ! And somehow we managed to succeed in life without having learned how to put condoms on sex toys in school.

New ;post soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Political Movement Or Hobo Jungle ?

Is the "Occupy Ottawa" camp currently situated in Ottawa's Confederation Park a political movement/demonstration or simply a hobo jungle ?
Citizen Ellie is of the opinion that it's the latter.
While the camp may have begun with the best of purposes, it is more and more evident that it has become nothing more than a haven for people who want to break laws; a haven for the intoxicated and the addicted; a haven for those who want to prey on the weakest in our society.
There have been reports of physical and sexual assaults, thefts and other activities which fall within the purview of the Criminal Code. Sanitary facilities are minimal and there is reason to be concerned about the risk of disease.
Similar camps in Halifax and London, Ontario have been closed down. The squatters in Toronto have been given until midnight tonight to move on. They've been told to remove themselves from Olympic Plaza in Calgary. And similar action is expected in Vancouver. In New York City, where the "Occupy Wall Street" movement started, the camp in Zucotti Park has been closed. Protesters may return during the day but they will not be allowed to set up tents and camp out.
So what's happening in Ottawa ?
You could have knocked Citizen Ellie over with a feather last week. Wonder of wonders ! A response from Mayor Jim within 24 hours of her sending him an e-mail regarding Occupy Ottawa. Clearly there's a new approach being taken at City Hall in regard to communication with taxpayers.
Mayor Jim explained that Confederation Park is National Capital Commission (NCC) property and it would be up to the NCC to ask the Ottawa Police to step in and clear the park. He suggested that Citizen Ellie contact the local MPs who currently occupy government benches. So e-mails went off to John Baird, Gordon O'Connor etc. etc.
The feds passed the buck back to the city. They say the Occupy Ottawa camp is a "demonstration" and because Ottawa Police are responsible when demonstrations occur it's their job to take the appropriate action.
Mayor Jim's position is correct. The "Occupy Ottawa" camp is not a demonstration in any sense of the word. Ottawa Police can't just walk in without being invited. So citizens of Ottawa who are sick and tired of the hobo jungle and its scofflaw denizens will have to wait until some high hiedin at the NCC decides enough is enough.
Ottawa ratepayers can take comfort in the fact that they will not be alone when it comes to picking up the tab for the cleanup and repair which Confederation Park will require once the hobo jungle is gone. The burden will be shared with taxpayers across the country.
Citizen Ellie has a couple of questions about this whole "occupy" movement in Canada, and especially in Ontario. In the past 12 months Ontarians have had three opportunities to go to the polls and cast ballots in elections at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Voter turnout on all three occasions was dismal. So where were all these protesters on election day ? Too drunk or drugged to make it to the polls ? If the desire for revolution is as strong as those squatting in the parks (and their big labor backers) would have us believe, how come McGuinty in Ontario and Harper at the federal level weren't summarily turfed out of office ? How come Ottawa ratepayers put the boot to the socialists who controlled council ?
And how come these protesters can only talk about cororate greed as if corporate greed is the root of all evil ? Their only solution is to further tax the rich. In Canada the top tax rate is already 29 per cent. Keep jacking it up and the few really rich in this country will move to one of the many tax havens available around the world. Why aren't they talking about entitlements ? Why aren't they talking about waste and government programs which have outlived their usefulness ? Could it be because they're all swilling at the entitlement trough and their big labor backers fear their membership will sharply decline when governments at all levels start implementing much-needed austerity measures ?

New posts soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hide And Seek.......

RICE POINT, PEI: The invisible woman remains invisible.

Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur has declined an invitation from the Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group to attend the Hydro and Municipal Affairs debate the group is hosting on September 12 from 5.00 to 8.30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

One would think the minister responsible for welfare in Ontario would be prepared to participate in a public forum where welfare will be one of the topics under discussion given that there's a provincial election on the horizon. What could possibly bemore important than the chance to explain what's happening with welfare reform (or the lack of it) in the province.

Perhaps Mme. Meilleur's decision not to present herself at this forum has to do with the fact it has a highly Anglophone tinge to it -- what with Steve Madely and Nick Van Der Graft from CFRA being involved and the other sitting provincial government members and the candidates opposing them who are participating in the event may very well be bilingual, but they are Anglophones or Allophones just the same.

Mme. Meilleur might do well to review the latest demographic figures for her riding of Ottawa-Vanier which can be found by accessing Statistics Canada's web site. She's in for a surprise.

It might also behoove her to instruct her constituency office staff regarding the boundaries of her riding and what areas of the city are included in Ottawa-Vanier. It ain't just Vanier, kids.

A friend of Citizen Ellie's who resides in New Edinburgh recently had occasion to call Mme. Meilleur's constituency office, seeking assisstance with a problem. Citizen Ellie's friend was repeatedly told that they could not help as New Edinburgh did not lie within Ottawa-Vanier's boundaries. After insisting that New Edinbugh did indeed lie within Ottawa-Vanier's boundaries, the staffer told Citizen Ellie's friend that she would have to look into the matter and call back. A somewhat chastened Meilleur staffer indeed called back and admitted error.

The only knowledge of Mme. Meilleur's existence posessed by many Ottawa-Vanier residents is the fact a street in the riding has been named after her. What has she done to receive this honor ? Inquiring minds want to know.

The provincial election looms. Will Mme. Meilleur carry the Liberal banner yet another time ? Again, inquiring minds want to know. If so, does she think that just having her name on the ballot will be enough ? Or the old line, "Vote for me because I'm French" (used by Liberal candidates throughout the years) will cinch it for her ? Hope she's ready for four years in opposition. That's where many of her constituents fervently hope she ends up -- across the floor where she'll truly be invisible.


Citizen Ellie has frequently had occasion during the past weeks of her sojurn on PEI to leave her little piece of paradise at Rice Point on the Northumberland shore, and venture to other parts of the island.

Driving across the island, heading north-east to the beach at Greenwich (part of the National Park system on the Atlantic shore),Citizen Ellie once again used the Charlottetown by-pass and marvelled at the foresight of that city's elected representatives as compared to the lack of it on the part of Ottawa's city council during years past. Sadly, Ottawa lacks a ring road.

In the old days before the bypass, one had to negotiate Charlottetown's University Avenue through the downtown core to get to the bridge across the Hillsborough River which would take one to points east such as Greenwich, St. Peter's, Montague or Souris.

In Ottawa, we still must drive through the city core to get from west to east and vice vesa. A ring road would go a long way to solving congestion in the downtown core in addition to changing the Queensway from a parking lot in both directions during rush hours to a free-flowing autoroute.

More posts. Soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is There A Doctor ....... ???

RICE POINT, PEI: Glancing through newspapers on line @ National Newswatch, Citizen Ellie noted several references to a new campaign promise by "Deceiver" Dalton -- if elected, his government will reinstate physician house calls in Ontario.

Citizen Ellie has this question for Mr. Tax and Spend: considering that probably half of Ontario's population doesn't have access to a family doctor, where will these physicians be found who are willing to make house calls ?

Perhaps you saw the photo in the Globe and Mail a couple of weeks ago. Hundreds of people lined up outside a newly-opened medical practice in Barrhaven, hoping against hope they would be among the lucky ones to make it onto one of the doctors' rosters. Citizen Ellie's daughter-in-law was one of those in the queue.

We tend to adopt a sneering, supercilious attitude towards our neighbors to the south when it comes to discussions about health care and which country's system is better. We happily point to the fact that over a third of the U-S population does not have access to health care because they cannot afford to pay for it. We loudly proclaim that our system is better -- everyone has access to health care -- and it's free.

Except it's not free. We pay for it through our taxes. Compare our income tax rates with those of our American neighbors with similar incomes. We pay heavily. And in Ontaario, we pay even more, thanks to "Deceiver" Dalton's health care tax which he implemented shortly after he was first elected -- on the promise of no new taxes. Some Ontarians, Citizen Ellie included, pay as much as an extra $950 per year to the Ontario government -- allegedly for health care.

Excedpt there are no doctors. There's a serious doctor shortage in Ontario. Why ? Think back to the NDP government headed by Bob Rae -- yes, the very same Bob Rae who's now interim leader of the federal Libs. During his period as premier, health care costs were eating up quite a chunk of the provincial budget. Who was to blame for this ? In the socialists' minds, it was the fault of those highly-paid doctors. How to solve the problem ? Cap admission to medical schools.

Problem was that there was a serious lack of forward thinking on the part of the Rae government. They conveniently forgot it takes ten-plus years to make a doctor. They conveniently forgot that Ontario's population was aging, people were living longer, and health isues attendant on the aging process would increase as a consequence.

Then there's the doctors' union -- otherwise known as the Ontario Medical Association. The OMA and the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (the provincial licensing body for doctors) determine who gets to practice medicine in this province. These folks run a closed shop -- just as closed a shop as the old craft unions ran in the early days of the labor movement.

They make it extremely difficult for foreign-trained doctors to practice in Ontario. Even if the foreign training was received at a prestigious, world-class medical school such as Glasgow University in Scotland or Trinity in Ireland. The powers in control in Ontario look upon institutions such as these as third world outfits and doctors who've graduated from these institutions have to jump through hoops to have their credentials recognized in Ontario.

But Ontario is not alone in this. The same thing happens here in Prince Edward Island. The public here recently learned that a board certified, experienced physician who had years of practice in Boston was being required to go through the qualification dance established on the island to control admission of foreign-trained doctors. This -- when the doctor shortage on the island is desperate.

Given our level of taxation and the fact we in Ontario carry the extra burden of "Deceiver" Dalton's health care premium, are we getting what we're paying for ? When Ontario residents have to queue up for hours in the hope they might make it onto a family doctor's roster, Citizen Ellie would have to say that we're not.

This should be a major issue during the coming provincial election. Get off your duffs, get out to the public meetings in your area. Sit close to the floor mikes. Get up and challenge your sitting MPP. What is he or she personally doing to bring more family doctors into the province ? Demand an answer. Vote accordingly.

More posts. Soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Return From Hiatus -- Random Thoughts

RICE POINT, PEI -- Citizen Ellie's been a bit of a slacker since April. Fact is, Ottawa's municipal scene has been downright boring since last October's election. Mayor Jim controls council with the alacrity of a well-trained border collie managing a herd of sheep. Not a murmur of dissent heard from any quarter. Even Councillor Peter Clark, never known for his reticence when he was regional chair, has been strangely silent.

So here sits Citizen Ellie, enjoying all that her personal paradise on earth, Prince Edward Island, has to offer, including gas at $1.18 per litre. (Note to "Deceiver" McGuinty: if the PEI government has the balls to take on big oil and implement price controls, what's the matter with your lot ? Lack of will ? Testosterone ? Or just plain scared contributions to the war chest will dry up ?)

While waiting for Hurricane Irene's possible arrival, Citizen Ellie has been following the activities of the Glebe NIMBYs who call themselves "Frinds of Lansdowne Park". Having lost their case, based on the fact they had no evidence to support their claims, they are planning to waste more of the court's time and taxpayers' money by launching an appeal to a higher court. To date, we taxpayers are on the hook for $1.3 million in legal fees, with more to come as the city must once again defend its position.

Should the unthinkable occur, and these folks win at appeal, Citizen Ellie has a solution to the problem posed by Lansdowne's sea of concrete. Mayor Jim wants more social housing -- he not being of the mindset that we should be doing our utmost to get folks out of social housing. Why not use Lansdowne Park for social housing ? The city already owns the land, thus eliminating one of the costs. The site is large enough to accommodate at least a thousand units of social housing along with several homeless shelters. Bus stops are handy, as is the beer store. Makes perfect sense to Citizen Ellie -- plus it would give the Glebe NIMBYs an issue about which they could really get their knickers in a twist !

More to come ! Soon !

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Granny Was Right !

My Scots granny 0nce told me there were two kinds of people in the world -- the "McGie's" and the "McTakes".
The "McGie's" are those folks who give, give, give -- to all levels of government through incresingly punishing levels of taxation, and to support charities when they have any spare change left after our federal, provincial and municipal governments have taken their pound of flesh. The "McGie's" take care of themselves and their families. They understand what the words "duty" and "responsibility" mean.
The "McTakes" are those folk who want others to provide them with free or subsidized housing, free food, free school supplies for their kids, free snowsuits for their kids, free skates for their kids, free Christmas dinners and gifts for their kids, free Easter dinners, free or subsidized bus passes, free home care if they're sick -- the list goes on and on. "Duty" and "responsibility" are not in the McTakes' lexicon.
The "McTakes" would appear to have a lot of champions among those currently vying for the Prime Minister's position. Iggy, Jack, and Gilles (he only in Quebec) are promising all sorts of goodies without clearly and honestly telling us how much this electoral bribery is going to cost.
If you believe this bullshit, there's a choice piece of swampland in Florida awaiting your purchase !
Let's take a look at Iggy and the Liberal "family pack". They've trotted out their national daycare program again and again-- when did they first promise this ? Back in the 80s ? Where is it ? The Liberals gave us Pierre Trudeau who in turn gave us multiculturalism -- a move blatantly designed to guarantee a supply of Liberal voters into perpetuity. And what about his National Energy Policy ? Nearly drove the country into bankruptcy and even worse, led to western alienation. Then there was Jean Chretien. He promised to cancel the GST but immediately forgot about it the day after his government was elected. Needed those GST dollars to pay for monogrammed golf balls -- certainly didn't spend the money on his promised national day care program. And then he proceeded to screw over countless thousands of seniors by cancelling the universality of the Old Age Security pension program and implementing a means test. So much for protecting a sacred trust. Iggy is of the same political stripe as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty -- the man who promised there would be no new taxes if he was elected, then went on to tax everything he could lay his eyes on. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is cut from the same cloth -- he says there are 10,500 more McTakes in the city who are in dire need of social housing or subsidized rents. He is obsessed with social housing.
And what about Jack ? Fortunately the NDP has never held power at the national level. We know what happened when they had a term in office in Ontario under Bob Rae's leadership. I well remember Rae Days, not to mention living with the wage freeze he imposed on all non-unionized staff working for the provincial government, in health care and in education. We took the bullet while Rae's unionized supporters continued to receive their wage increases and pay equity hikes. Rae has since become a Liberal and is positively salivating at the thought of replacing Iggy should Iggy not win a majority for the Libs and hotfoot it back to Harvard.
Iggy and Jack tell us they can achieve the promised land by raising corporate taxes, cancelling the purchase of jet fighters (badly needed for defense of Canadian sovereignty), and scrapping plans for additional jails. The Libs actually have a candidate running in an Edmonton riding, a former judge, who doesn't believe in sending criminals, especially sex offenders, to jail.
What they don't tell us is that even if they do all these things, there still won't be enough to pay for all the promised goodies. The only way they can meet the nut and continue to reduce the deficit would be to increase income tax rates, hike the GST and find other things to tax. When they say they will only tax the wealthy, don't believe it. There are not enough truly wealthy in this country -- what they really mean is that they will tax the middle class because they see the middle class as being "wealthy".
I'm a Depression baby -- one of the few Canadians born during the Dirty Thirties. We grew up in tough times and we learned this mantra at the same time we were learning to walk: "Debt is bad. Save your money. Pay off your mortgage as quickly as possibly. Educate your kids. Plan for your retirement. Pay for your funeral in advance. Save. Don't spend. You must look after yourself. There is no free lunch."
Because we did all these things, now that we are retired we are looked upon as cash cows by politicians at all levels. And we get nothing in return for the taxes we pay. I cite personal examples: back in 2000, when my late husband was in the last stage of esophogeal cancer, there was no home help for us unless we opened our wallets. In 2008, when I had major surgery for endometrial cancer followed by radiation, there was no home help for me unless I opened my wallet. More recently, in 2010, when I had a total knee joint replacement, again there was no home help for me unless I opened my wallet. Fortunately I have adult children who were able to help but there's nothing like the thought of losing one's independence to get one off the couch, and work through the pain in order to regain one's mobility.
If someone was to ask me what life is like for a senior in Canada, I would reply that it would be pretty good if we weren't being taxed into the poorhouse by governments at all levels. I would talk about how much I resent Iggy's Rosedale elites or Jack's chardonnay socialists dictating how my money (hard earned after 42 years in the work force) should be spent. I would prefer to make my own decisions on that score -- that is, if I had any money left after Iggy's Rosdale elites and Jack's chardonnay socialists got through picking my pocketbook in order to provide for their constituency of McTakes who won't take responsibility for themselves.
If someone was to ask me what Mayor Jimbo and the sheeple on council should have done with the $22 million windfall resulting from the province uploading social services, I would say that a good portion of it should have been returned to its rightful owners -- residential property ratepayers who carried the burden of these social services after the province downloaded them in the first place. Mayor Jimbo and the sheeple on council should be looking at ways to get people out of social housing rather than building more of it. Mayor Jimbo and the sheeple should be promoting hand-ups rather than hand-outs -- encouraging old-fashioned "up by the bootstraps" initiative, stressing that while society has an obligation to help the less fortunate, the less fortunate also have an obligation to get back on their feet as fast as they can and start giving back to the socity that helped them. Iggy and Jack should do likewise.
In case you haven't guessed, I will be voting Conservative on May 2. I hopeand pray Stephen Harper gets a majority. A Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition would be the worst thing that could happen to this country. Don;t kid yourself. The Libs and the NDP won't have the numbers to form a coalition without including the Bloc. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Gilles Duceppe could end up being Prime Minister -- a perfectly legitimate demand he could make in return for his support. What a horrible thought !


Sunday, March 27, 2011

They All Lie........

All politicians are prevaricators to a greater or lesser degree. But the Liberal record of late has been worse than most. At all levels of government -- federal, provincial and municipal (although the party system supposedly hasn't invaded Ontario's city halls.......not openly......yet.)

Citizen Ellie has voted in every election since achieving voting age some 52 years ago -- that's a lot of elections. Back in the day, she attended numerous leadership conventions -- all parties -- either as a delegate or in her capacity as a working journalist.

This is the first election campaign she's seen in those 52 years where the party leaders start off with the accusations -- he's lying about the coalition -- no, he's lying about the economy -- no, the other two are lying, only the NDP always tells the truth -- no, when it comes to protecting Quebec's interests, only the Bloc is not lying.

Iggy was on TV last night in an in- your- face campaign add where he promised pensions for all. Wonderful. Go for the seniors' vote because they always vote. But fo for it with an outright lie.

For a university professor loaded with degrees this guy conveniently fails history when it comes to pensions and universality. We seniors, especially us senior women , are not short on memory. We remember defeating Frank Miller's Conervatives in Ontario because he was the man who put the tax on tampons !

Here's a little history lesson for the Harvard man. Canadians once had pensions for all -- in other words, a universal plan. It was known as Old Age Security. There was no means test for OAS. Everyone got it when they reached age 65. It wasn't a lot of money. Poor seniors could get more -- through the means-tested Guaranteed Income Supplement. Senior women were the main beneficiaries of these two programs -- especially senior women who never worked outside the home or otherwise had no financial assets of their own. When he was PM, Brian Mulroney faced a recession and had to look for areas where cuts could be made -- but even he called OAS universality a "sacred trust". The Liberal/NDP/Bloc howlers on the other side of the House agreed. There would be no tampering with OAS during the Mulroney years.

Then along came a Liberal government headed by Jean Chretien. Nothing was said on the campaign trail about possible changes to OAS. Chretien counted on seniors' votes. Silence was as good as a lie because Chretien was hardly in power when he and his deficit-fighting Finance Minister, Paul Martin decided the sacred trust -- OAS universality -- wasn't so sacred after all. A means test was implemented and thousands of seniors across the country (Citizen Ellie included) found themselves cut off despite the fact that as working people, they'd paid for this benefit through the income taxes they'd paid during their working life -- in Citizen Ellie's case, 42 years in the work force. That's a lot of income tax !

Senior voters, especially senior women voters, be warned. Iggy's talk of pensions for all, along with Jack's yak about improving the lot of seniors is a lot of hot air. Where's the money coming from ? You and I know that governments at all levels -- especially limousine Libs and chardonnay Socialists -- view us "Depression Babies" as cash cows.

If younger women think life will be better with Iggy or Jack at the helm, think again. Think about what a Liberal government in Ontario has cost you. The first big lie was Dalton McGuinty's election promise that he wouldn't raise taxes. What did you get ? A health tax right off the bat which is costing some couples as much as $1,500 per year. This "goodie" was followed by increased license fees for cars, boats, hunting and fishing; an ECO tax on many containers -- paint cans, windshield washer fluid etc. which you don 't see until after you've paid it; disposal tax on electronics and tires; the HST; increased hydro tax by 10% in April 2010; increased tax on liquor and wine in May 2010; coming SMART hydro meters (July 15, 2011) on which you'll pay perpetual rent.

Then there's the questionable $7 billion Dalton "The Deceiver" McGuinty has spent on windmill power without creting any new jobs since he gave the manufacture of the windmills to a Korean company rather than having them built in the province.

And who can forget the $1.2 billion spent on the failed E-health program -- did nothing to benefit Ontario residents but provided financial asistance to a lot of needy Liberal friends and supporters.

So.... how's that workin' for ya ? What's it done to your household budget ? Want more ? If so, run to the polls on May 2 and vote for Iggy or Jack. And why is David McGuinty front and centre when Iggy's holding his news conferences ? Could it be he's thinking about how great it would be to implement his brother's tax and spend program at the fedel level ?

But as you cast your ballot you should also remember Iggy and Jack share the same "hug a thug, kiss a convict" mentality. They're soft on crime. They don't want to lock anyone up -- even those who commit the most serious crimes. They're opposed to spending money on more prisons.

If you're a woman voter, you should give this some thought. Women and children (especially girls) are more frequently victims of violent crime. Think about the recent "baddie" lineup: Paul Bernardo, Pickton the Pig Farmer, Killer Colonel Russell Willims, Clifford Olsen -- they didn't choose men to rape and kill.

And last, but not least. Iggy and Jack don't seem to understand that when we send our young men and women into harm's way, we should send them there with the best possible equipment available. Citizen Ellie is surprised they don't talk about bringing back the Ross rifle ! Citizen Ellie wouldn't want her grandsons to choose careers in the military if Iggy or Jack were in charge.

So you're disgusted with politics and decide you want to send a message about your disgust by not voting at all. Lots of people think this way and it's just plain stupid. Better to protest by going to the polls and spoiling your ballot. Spoiled ballots are counted. No shows aren't.

Postings weekly

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sheeple Reign....

Mayor Jim's budget with its 2.5 per cent tax increase passed in record time and without comment earlier this week. Mayor Jim, good shepherd that he is (having learned from his master, Dalton McGuinty) led his sheeple (also known as councillors) to that green and promised land where never a harsh word is spoken and never a taxpayer's continued ability to pay is taken into account.
But there was a wiley old fox among the flock. Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor Peter Clark knows how to read a budget (unlike the other newbies on council) and as a former mayor (Cumberland) and regional chair who never considered "surplus" a dirty word, he spotted a number of areas where cuts could have been made and savings passed on to ratepayers.
Councillor Clark also knows how to choose his battles. Experience told him this was not one he could win so he backed off, leaving Mayor Jim and the sheeple to indulge in a round of self-applause and group portraiture -- recording the historic moment for posterity.
Like other city hall watchers, Citizen Ellie is somewhat concerned with this turn of events. Yes, voters made it clear they were tired of council's shenanigans when they went to the polls last fall and turfed out those among the chronic obstructionists who hadn't the wisdom to retire prior to the election. So it's not unreasonable to expect the newbies to swim carefully in the uncharted waters of the budget process. After all, this was the first big decision facing them -- and only weeks after being sworn in.
Perhaps the newly-elected don't know the difference between raising legitimate questions of concern and deliberate obstructionism. The previous council was characterized by deliberate obstructionism on the part of the lefties who, in the grip of the unions and the Ottawa and District Labor Council, were upset the lefty candidate lost the mayoral election to an upstart right-winger. They then used every opportunity in and out of council meetings over the next four years to vent their spleen and exhibit their personal dislike of the mayor and his ideas.
Citizen Ellie finds it hard to believe the voters who cleaned house last fall elected a pack of Watson yes-men (and women). It remains to be seen if the love-in will continue -- there are contentious issues yet to come before council, including Lansdowne Park, LRT, OC Transpo reforms and Mayor Jim's personal desire to create a borough system. Will the sheeple continue to remain silent when it's their personal ox that's being gored ?
Who Should Pay ?
Some Westboro residents think the city should hive off part of the old convent land on Richmond road and turn it into parkland for their personal enjoyment -- prior to a major development project proceeding on the site. Problem is that they want someone else to pay for it.
Shades of the Lansdowne situation, where the very few who think this choice piece of land should be for their enjoyment only want the taxpayers to foot the bill for their legal action against the city -- never mind that the taxpayers will be footing the bill to defend against this foolish waste of the court's and everyone else's time.
A suggestion's been made that rather than stiff every ratepayer in Ottawa for the cost of purchasing part of the Richmond Road convent property, the cost should be charged only against ratepayers in the ward where the convent property is located.
What a hornet's nest this one is opening up ! Letters to the editor ! calls to talk radio ! Ratepayer against ratepayer !
Pity the poor ward councillor in this can't win situation.
Citizen Ellie believes that if a group of people are opposed to development, they should be prepared to foot the bill to buy the land in question from the developer. And that goes for Lansdowne Park too.
Goodbye $14 million....
Was spending $14 million on more social housing in Ottawa at the top of your list of priorities ? It was at the top of Mayor Jim's list and that's where a good portion of the money which became available to the city as a result of last year's social program upload back to the province is going.
Aren't we getting it backwards ? Shouldn't the focus be on getting people out of public housing and into the mainstream rather than putting all the focus on getting people into public housing ?
Getting people out rather than putting more people in is a radical idea. It's not one which is welcomed by the poverty industry -- where continued employment in one's job as a social worker is dependent upon ensuring people remain in poverty.
Whatever happened to hand-ups instead of hand-outs ? Citizen Ellie is looking for answers to some questions. What's the average length of stay in public housing ? How many public housing occupants are second or third generation ? How many working age public housing occupants have employment income ? How many household heads in public housing are employed ? How many are unemployable because they can't speak either English or French ? How many don't learn to speak English or French because they are living in public housing which has become a ghetto where the majority don't speak English or French ? Citizen Ellie is making an Access to Information application in order to get answers to these questions.
New postings weekly now that Citizen Ellie has returned from afar.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Budget Concerns

The consultation process on the city's budget is about to begin. Expect to see a parade of special interests appearing before council, begging bowls in hand, all wanting a bigger slice of the pie and to heck with Mayor Jim's much-touted 2.4 per cent cap on this year's property tax increase.
"Sacrifice" is not a word in the lexicon of these folk. "Alms", they cry. "Give us alms". It's the clarion call of Ottawa's well-developed poverty industry.
"Self-sacrifice" applies, to their way of thinking, only applies to those who pay the freight -- namely the residential property taxpayer. So what if a few more senior citizens on fixed incomes have to sell their homes and move to Smith's Falls because they can no longer afford Ottawa property taxes -- not a problem for the special interest groups.
Citizen Ellie wonders if the majority on this newly-elected council will have the balls to withstand the onslaught. Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor
Peter Clark won't be shy about saying "GET LOST" -- he used to do it all the time when he was mayor of Cumberland and later as Regional Chair. "Surplus" was not a dirty word to Councillor Clark.
This new council could have seized the opportunity to give a little something back to the hard-pressed ratepayer. There's $22 million in the form of dollars the city doesn't have to spend on certain expensive social programs such as social housing, thanks to their being uploaded back on the province -- where they rightfully belonged in the first place.
When he was provincial Municipal Affairs Minister, Mayor Jim made a big show of this uploading. This was going to ease the burden on the Ottawa ratepayer. It's a wonder he didn't develop sore arms from patting himself on the back.
What's he saying now ? Instead of using this $22 million to offer taxpayers some relief or to reduce the city's debt load, Mayor Jim plans to spend it on his new favorite program -- more social housing.
Citizen Ellie thinks it's time there was some honesty about the need for more social housing in Ottawa. Exactly how many people are homeless ? How many are spending each and every night on the streets ? How many are making one of the city's shelters their permanent home and how many are just passing through ? How many are using the shelters because they've made a personal decision to live off the grid -- criminals dodging the police, deadbeats dodging child support etc. ?
Ten thousand seems to be the magic number in Ottawa. Last fall we were told there were 10,000 children whose parents could not afford to buy school supplies. During the holiday season we were told there were 10,000 families needing toys for their kids plus Christmas hampers. The figure of 10,000 is regularly bandied about as the number of new social housing units needed to put an end to homelessness in Ottawa.
If truth be told there are probably fewer than 200 truly homeless in the city. But there's this huge demand for more affordable housing and it seems that those wanting more affordable housing want it in the downtown core -- where real estate is expensive and rents are high.
Residential property taxpayers who will be stuck with the burden deserve to know who they're going to be subsidizing in these proposed new social housing units. Are they getting a hand-up or a hand-out ? What is the plan to eventually move them into the housing mainstream ? Or is subsidized housing going to be their permanent address ? How many of these new units will be set aside -- earmarked, so to speak -- for former residential property-owners whose property taxes are stating to exceed their mortgage payments ?
How much new debt is the city going to take on in 2011 ? We won't understand the complete impact of the budget until we know what this figure is. Ratepayers should understand that every $12 million the city borrows represents a 1% tax commitment somewhere down the road. Could be a tax increase or a corresponding cut in services. Regardless, money borrowed must be paid back, usually with interest. This year the city's debt charges will cost almost $80 million. Not chickenfeed !
No new posts until March.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stinky Business !
How's that bi-weekly garbage collection proposal workin' for ya ? Are ya lovin' it ?
Probably not -- unless you're one of those who cram their freezers with used meat trays, fish heads, rinds from strong cheese and other items guaranteed to stink up the kitchen until it's time to download into the green bin for collection by the city.
Would you believe there are people who actually are doing this now -- storing kitchen waste in their freezers -- and writing letters to daily newspapers smugly advising the rest of us that the green bin is the way to go, they never have any problems with stench, fruit flies, maggots or vermin, and the sooner we slackers get with the program, the better.
Citizen Ellie prefers to use her freezer to store meat, poultry, fish and bread bargains from Costco along with a supply of home-made MREs. (For the uninitiated, MREs are meals ready to eat -- mac and cheese, beef, chicken or lamb stew, shepherd's pie, baked beans -- all lovingly prepared by Citizen Ellie's own hand. Processed food rarely crosses Citizen Ellie's threshold.)
Citizen Ellie is not totally without conscience when it comes to recycling. The blue and black boxes are heavily used. Empty beer (including cans), wine and liquor bottles are returned to the store. Garden refuse is also put out for collection. But as she lives in the neighborhood where the kitchen refuse recycling scheme was tried out as a pilot project, Citizen Ellie is only too aware of what can result. Maggots and flies are bad enough, but rats, skunks and raccoons are something else. Disease-carriers, that's what they are and Citizen Ellie is surprised at the strange silence of public health officials on this issue.
As the green bin program was not an overwhelming success in its first year, obviously many Ottawans remain unconvinced that this is the route to go in order to reduce the requirement for landfill sites. Many Ottawans are now just waking up to the fact that the previous council followed extremely poor advice provided by city staff charged with the project (who thankfully have all left the city's employ) and signed a 20-year contract with a company (Orgaworld) to compost food waste from green bins. (Some councillors are just waking up to this fact too !)
This contract committed the city (meaning you and me, taxpayers) to providing 80,000 tonnes of organic waste in the first and last years -- regardless of the amount of waste collected. Cost per tonne -- $100.
In the first year (2010) the city collected 53,000 tonnes -- this included lawn and yard waste. In an average year, the city collects 30,000 tonnes of lawn and yard waste. If only 23,000 tonnes of kitchen waste came from the green bins it's no wonder that those geniuses at city hall now want to bludgeon green bin refuseniks into joining the program by threatening bi-weekly garbage collection, replacing the weekly service we currently enjoy and pay for through a garbage surcharge on our tax bills. Green bins, naturally, would be collected once a week. And there's more -- instead of using black box for newspaper, cardboard etc. and blue box for glass, plastics and aluminum products, all this stuff would go into one box. Won't this mean an increase in time spent sorting -- and added costs ?
In order to bring refuseniks on board, the city has already spent $100,000.00 on a TV commercial featuring a bunch of politically-correct elementary schoolchildren thanking viewers (in a multitude of languages) for saving the planet -- presumably by using green bins. Citizen Ellie had a hard time figuring out the message and it sure wasn't initially apparent that this bumf was sponsored by the city.
Now the Environmental Services Committee chaired by Councillor Maria McRae (a thankless job if there ever was one) aided by city staff, are holding a series of waste management public consultations throughout the city to get citizens' views on this latest proposal. Too bad they didn't hold public consultations before they signed the Orgaworld contract ! There's also a spot on the city's web site purporting to answer questions about the green bin program in order to help you understand it, but the content is sorely lacking in the facts and figures required in order to make an informed choice. If the TV commercial and the information on www. are products of the city's public relations/information staff, then this is a department which should be seriously looked at should staff cuts be required at city hall in order to meet Mayor Jim's 2.5% tax increase ceiling.
What we're seeing with this bi-weekly garbage collection proposal is typical of how city hall approaches a problem. New thinking ? New ideas ? Not on your life ! It's so much easier just to stick it to the homeowner as has been done with the green bin program. It doesn't apply to apartment dwellers or to commercial enterprises who probably generate as much or more of the stuff going into landfills than homeowners.
What we need at city hall is the approach taken by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford -- i.e. come up with a new plan/approach or be fired !
When Ottawans voted last October, they didn't vote for "more of the same". The council housecleaning should be an indication to the newly- elected and city staff that change was wanted and is expected. We're tired of the stupidity which has resulted in Ottawa ratepayers paying the highest property taxes in the country ! And for sure we're tired of paying more for less service !

More News from the Food World.....
Citizen Ellie fervently hopes Chef Michael Smith isn't planning to serve lobster at the upcoming Winterlude gala dinner. Or seal flipper pie......
Now that animal rights activists, irate over the inclusion of foie gras on the dinner menu have forced renowned Montreal Chef Martin Picard to back out of this prestigious culinary gig, extreme care must be taken when the chef chooses appetizers, entrees etc. so as not to offend the PETA crowd.
It's unfortunate that the organizers of the gala dinner demonstrated themselves to be gutless wonders, caving in to the complaints of a few to the disadvantage of the many. Wonder how many of the complainants had even purchased tickets to the event ?
Brass balls are in short supply in this city.
New postings weekly.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Heads Out Of The Sand, People !

Ottawa Police currently have a spate of house-breakings on their hands, in the Glebe and the Civic Hospital area. Local media is reporting that as many as 25 homes in these neighborhoods have been hit in recent days. Thieves have taken money, jewellery and small electronic devices -- things readily tradeable for crystal meth, crack cocaine or whatever the perp's drug of choice might be.
Thanks to some nitwits who blithely told CTV Ottawa's John Hua that New Edinburgh was such a safe neighborhood that doors were not locked, residents in this area can expect a good dose of the same.
These comments were made to John Hua when he interviewed Stanley Avenue residents following the New Year's Day homicide which occurred on that street.
Obviously the numbskulls Mr. Hua spoke to were new to the 'Burgh when they issued their open invitation to every crack and meth-head in the city. Unlike other 'Burgh residents, the folk on Stanley Avenue appear to live pretty sheltered lives. Unlike their counterparts in other sections of the 'Burgh, they haven't experienced the joy of waking up in the morning to find their car has been broken into or the pleasure of coming home from work to find that someone has been in their house and some of their stuff is gone.
'Burghers who live closer to Beechwood Avenue are quite familiar with this type of criminal activity. Their streets have been invaded by crackheads who wander around trying car door handles. You can see them pursuing this activity in the parking lots at the local Second Cup, Metro and Loblaws.
They've been known to defecate in shrubs and hedges on private property. They spend time thieving in the Metro and Loblaws. They panhandle on Beechwood in front of the hardware store and they put the touch on motorists stopped at red lights at the corner of the Vanier Parkway and Beechwood. They've become so bold that they now try people's front doors in the hope that an unlocked door will give them easy access to a purse, a Blackberry, I-Pod or I-Pad.
The local drugstore now has big signs in its windows stating that oxycontin and other narcotics are only available through special order -- meaning there are none in the store. There's a reason for this. Drug stores are favorite targets of the addicted.
Drug abuse is endemic in Ottawa. No neighborhood is spared. The cops know it. Our elected representatives know it. The schools know it. The health care system knows it. Feeding the habit is behind the car break-ins, house break-ins and a lot of other criminal activity which goes unreported because the victims know there will be no justice for them.
Citizens have to protect themselves and it's a sad state of affairs when one must turn one's home into a fortress -- but that's today's reality. Maybe more cops walking the beat might make a difference. Perhaps Chief Vern White could show the flag by touring afflicted neighborhoods in that LAV purchased for the force by the taxpayers, or send in cops on those fancy computer-equipped motorcycles, also purchased by the taxpayers. Clearly something has to be done before ordinary folk turn into vigilantes.
Heads out of the sand, people ! No neighborhood is so safe that doors can remain unlocked or accessible basement and other windows can remain unbarred. Remember that Russell Williams gained access to his victim's homes through basement windows. And for those 'Burghers who believe they're living in one of the safest parts of town -- Citizen Ellie can recall several homicides occurring in that part of town in recent memory.

Free Rides For All ?
A group of University of Ottawa students is taking their student union to court for increasing fees by 5% in order to fund the mandatory U-Pass program.
For those of you who don't know, U-Pass provides cheap rides on OC Transpo for university students. The complainants say the pass isn't useful for those who live close to the university or who, for other reasons, don't ride the buses.
Wonder if property owners who don't use OC Transpo could have a tax reduction using the same argument. In Citizen Ellie's case, she'd have close to $1000 in her jeans if she wasn't subsidizing cheap bus fares for students and well-paid public sector employees. Maybe Citizen Ellie should start a campaign for free OC Transpo passes for senior citizens. Everyone else wants a free ride. Why shouldn't she ?
Regular posts on a weekly basis.